Steve McCarthy (the owner of this website) trained originally as a physicist at Oxford, but then had a career as an economist working first for the government of Botswana and then for twenty seven years at the European Investment Bank, from which he’s now retired. The original purpose of this site was to explore the interlinked issues of climate change and environmental destruction, human fulfillment and economic growth, wealth and income inequality and a universal basic income (see page What are we for? ) However the focus has now shifted to the folly of Brexit and in particular how the decision for the UK to leave the European Union could be reversed. This will be the main subjet of the blog posts – at least for the time being.
In this stop-Brexit campaign Steve is working with John Speed. John is a former Director of the European Court of Auditors. After obtaining an MA in Economics from Clare College, Cambridge and an MA in Development Economics from the University of Sussex, he worked as an economic planner in the Government of Botswana for five years. He then spent a further five years as an economist management consultant based in London before being seconded to the European Court of Auditors in 1981. He remained at the Court in various auditing and administrative roles, retiring at the end of 2011.
So far as Brexit is concerned we take the view that people were asked to vote in an ill-considered referendum on a highly complex matter of which they inevitably knew little. The campaign was characterized by lies on one side and complacency on the other. So a small majority took the opportunity to kick out at an elitist political establishment – both Conservative and New Labour – which for at least a decade had ignored their real concerns – stagnating living standards, neglect of the regions outside London, shortage of affordable housing, increasing insecurity in employment, cuts in the social safety net etc. – while at the same time protecting those who had caused the financial crisis and allowing the increasing enrichment of a small group of already wealthy people.
Then, as a consequence of the referendum result and the pusillanimity of the majority of elected MPs, government fell into the hands of a small group of fanatical (and incompetent) politicians determined to take the UK out of the EU at almost any cost. British society has since fractured in a way not seen for several generations.
The approach taken here is that only time can lance this boil and heal these divisions. The people of Britain need the time to ponder the decisions that have been taken in their name and if necessary to reverse them – whether through another referendum, a general election, or a change of heart of our elected representatives. The only way to have more time is to extend the negotiation period of Article 50, significantly beyond the two years laid down in the text. (A long ‘transition’ period would not serve the purpose; ‘transition’ is a one way street; there is no easy way back.) But an extension of Article 50 requires the unanimous agreement of the UK and of all the remaining 27 countries which are Members of the EU. This no easy task, but it is achievable and is the principal focus of our efforts and campaigning. Follow: #ExtendArt50
Stephen McCarthy – @mccarthy_sjmc